Reality TV simply celebrates stupidity. As an educator why do I care? It is bad enough when celebrities whether sports figures, music makers or acting types make poor choices repeatedly with their lives. We can try to explain those bad choices away to our kids by telling them these people just have more money than they know what to do with so they commit bad acts to be able to spend that money on bail, lawyers and PR staff who can re-frame the happening for the rest of us.
But what do we tell our kids about reality TV? These are supposed to be ordinary people who are opening their lives to millions displaying ignorant behaviors and ridiculously poor language skills. Yet they are getting lots of notoriety. Adolescents who equate notoriety with something good see all that. They can easily think these are positive behaviors- hey they get you on TV! And to make matters worse, there is a preponderance of African-Americans on these shows who seem to know a very limited number of words that exceed four letters. Advocacy groups need to get on that and demand that demonstrations of stupidity on reality shows be spread across all groups in proportion to their presence in our society. After all, we argue that good stuff should be equitably distributed according to demographics, why not displays of stupidity. Really have you ever watched these shows? It is amazing these people can function in society given their poor choice of behaviors.
One solution to the problem would be to institute a ratings system for TV. Shows that celebrate ignorance and poor choice of behaviors need to be aired after midnight so they can entertain the insomniacs. It is not appropriate for them to be shown on prime time. At a minimum they should be shown during school hours when the kids are trying to learn to avoid these kinds of behaviors and are otherwise occupied.
It is summer and most schools are closed. We all know that kids lose learning during those long months of no schooling. Hopefully they are enjoying opportunities to be creative, explore the outdoors, and have new experiences. I am sure if research were done, excessive exposure to these shows would be shown to damage our cognitive abilities. The surfeit of bad behavior, terrible choices and worse language on these shows is enough to make a video game be a positive choice for a nice summer afternoon.